This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
The same Captain of Engineers has undertaken a series of very interesting experiments on the sensitiveness to light of one or two substances to which bitumen probably owes its sensitiveness, but which, contrary to what takes place with bitumen, are capable of rendering very beautiful half tones, both on polished zinc and on albumenized paper. These sensitive substances are extracted by dissolving marine glue or coal-tar in benzine. By exposure to light, both marine-glue and coal-tar turn of a sepia color, and, in a printing-frame, they render a visible image, which is not the case with bitumen; their solvents are in the order of their energy; chloroform, ether, benzine, turpentine, petroleum spirit, and alcohol. Of these solvents, benzine is the best adapted for reducing the substances to a fluid state, so as to enable them to flow over the zinc. The images obtained, which are permanent, and which are very much like those of the Daguerreotype, are fixed by means of the turpentine and petroleum spirit. They are washed with water, and then carefully dried. It is possible to obtain prints with half-tones in fatty ink by means of plates of zinc coated with marine-glue. Some attempts in this direction were shown to me, which promised very well in this respect. We are, therefore, in the right road, not only for economically producing permanent prints on paper, but also for making zinc plates in which the phototype film of bichromatized gelatine is replaced by a solution of marine-glue and benzine. The substance known in commerce under the name of pitch or coal-tar will produce the same results.